i’ll start at the end, i’ll work backwards…

it’s been over a month now since the last post which is pretty rare for me but with so many moving parts and unexpected surprises (putting it mildly) i just have not been able to get myself to write a blog post. this will be a long post and i might break it up over the course of the week-we’ll just have to see.

i’ll start at the end
i’ll work backwards
from where we began
we were young, and ambitious
-back then…

-this song has been a favorite of mine since they recorded it and it just seemed appropriate here
(lyrics by Tristan Dolce, song title- Lou…give me a milk, album title Arrivals, Delays, & Departures by From Cities to Oceans
(iTunes link provided to purchase download)

i’ve felt things have been moving at a snail’s pace in some areas and i found this little guy while out walking the dog…a reminder that even at a snail’s pace progress gets made.

so, starting at the end, and working backwards- i’m back home now. the Houston Quilt Festival was successful by my own definition- which means i made some money, my classes went well and i got great evaluations on all, my lecture proceeded albeit with a potentially fatal mistake on my part which was thankfully avoided in part due to a very kind and forgiving audience (and a cell phone). the show attendance was reportedly up with somewhere around 55,000 between Market and Festival.
since i am starting at the end, i will say that the last leg of the return flight had us mysteriously circling out over the Pacific for 20 minutes or so after we made our initial approach to the runway without landing. upon our arrival we were told that the landing gear would not come down and that we were not informed until afterward because the pilot was just too darn busy taking care of business. glad i didn’t know. upon retrieving my luggage i found my brand new samsonite case had it’s wheels sheared off completely but after seeing the line at the US Airways counter of people whose flight had just been canceled due to our plane’s “mechanical difficulty” i decided to fore go complaining about such small details. ces’t la vie-literally! back to Marshalls for another case next time round. part of the cost of doing business.

speaking of costs…during the question and answer portion of my lecture, i was asked a couple of very basic questions. while i was surprised, looking back i guess i shouldn’t have been. my initial intention with the lecture was to offer up some very basic and practical thoughts for those considering starting out on their own in a small creative type business-after all, i only had an hour to broach such a large and involved subject. i did not intend it to be a “how to” on starting your own business but what i realized was that some of the questions which were asked showed me that people really wanted some real help on pricing their work, on figuring out how to get more of the $ trickling down to the bottom line. good questions and i did my best at answering them in the very small amount of time available.
i will say though, if you aren’t making enough money, you basically have two solutions-
1.) raise your prices
2.) lower your costs
the question on how to figure out how much it costs you to make something and how to go about pricing your work was basically answered by saying there are no shortcuts to this. list out your labor and materials, supplies on each item and each step of the process, do time studies, then extrapolate and do the math. this will give you your direct cost of goods. then there is the even trickier and more elusive overhead costs (not to mention the profit you are looking to earn). you also need to figure out what the market will bear- basically, it’s a numbers game and it will serve you well to know your costs. otherwise, one should not bother with having a business. better to keep it a hobby and enjoy!
i didn’t take lots of photos but here are a few of the booth before it got too chaotic-


-plus i got to meet several online friends in person-one in particular you may also know-what a treat! she (Kristin LaFlamme) also has done a great job reporting on the show from the perspective of a first time attendee. this is about all i can manage right now so will continue going backwards from here….later.

21 thoughts on “i’ll start at the end, i’ll work backwards…

  1. helen

    I love your display at the show, also. I’m glad it was a success for you. The picture of you with the scarves and pins on that green top is a show in it’s self, great marketing, I want the total look!
    I would of loved to hear you speak, too how about a video of the piece for us who live in never never land?

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  2. helen

    oops just dawned on me, I saw your picture on Kristin Laflamme’s site. Just in case anyone wonders what in the world I’m talking about.

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  3. Robyn A

    Having just bought some of your ribbon and indigo cloth, I am delighted for you that Houston was successful. I have never been there and can only imagine from many descriptions.

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    1. shiborigirl Post author

      yes- it is the same one- they have lasted well over time and put on a great show. the largest convention for the city of Houston every year. that’s quite an accomplishment!

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